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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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(1959), 5.2 for Vietnam (1945), and 6.4 for nonwidowed, married women in India (1951).*
What are the consequences of a growth in family size? Much depends upon the traditional structures of family life, upon the inheritance system, on the extent of landholding on the part of the family and the availability of new lands, and on the prospects for employment opportunities elsewhere.
Family Size and Housing. One effect, however, is nearly universal and that is the effect of an increase in family size on housing. An increase in family size invariably means that families require more living space. The traditional family dwelling may no longer be able to accommodate grandparents and two or three married children, each of whom have five or six children of their own. Villagers may expand their huts, or extended families may break up as a result of the need for more living space. In cities, wealthier families will move into larger living quarters. Since an increase in family size usually means a diminution in per capita income within the family, poorer families in cities will erect partitions within their homes or live under more crowded conditions. As crowding increases for the urban poor, there is often an outcry, if not from the poor themselves then from socially concerned middle and upper classes, for state intervention to improve housing conditions for poor families. Since poor, large families do not have the income to move to larger quarters, state intervention means the transfer of resources from one sector of society to another.
Family Size and Landholding. A growth in family size in the countryside may affect the size of landholdings. Unless some sons leave the family homestead or new lands are found, existing holdings must be fragmented if each son is to have a piece of land. In some regions, it has become possible for sons with energy to do what their fathers or grandfathers did—convert mountain slopes into usable land, drain a swamp, level a hillside, or clear a forest. In much of Africa, it may still be possible for young men to make "new" land suitable for cultivation. In such areas, a growth in family size will be accompanied by an increase in the amount of arable land. But in other areas the only alternative for young men is migration. In much of Europe in the middle of the 19th century, fragmentation of land had reached a point that it became an important factor in emigration.
Whether the family chooses to respond as a unit to the change in ecology or whether individual members of the family make their own choices has important political and social consequences. Marcus Lee Hanson reports that in Germany in the mid-19th century, men with six children and small land-holdings realized that an equal division of the land upon their death would
*The dates show the year of the studies or the year of the census used by Clark to assemble his tables (31, pp. 24-26).